A brief history of medical marijuana! Perhaps you should reconsider thinking that medical marijuana is something new just because it’s everywhere. Cannabis is suspected to be first cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago, so the plant that is so highly valued today has been popular for many centuries.
A Brief History of Medical Marijuana
Historically, cannabis has been used in ancient times
Originally from Central Asia, marijuana’s been used by the Chinese for centuries. There are ancient herbal texts that describe its benefits and it has been cultivated since 4000 BC. According to legend, Chinese emperor Shen Nung (the “father” of Chinese medicine) discovered its healing powers around 2700 BC, a discovery that changed the world of medicine forever.
As far back as history can record, cannabis has been used by different cultures to treat a number of different conditions. A proponent of marijuana in ancient India claimed it reduced fevers, induced sleep, stimulated appetite, and improved mental clarity. There were tribes in Africa that used it for malaria and other diseases common in their region. Cannabis has long been acclaimed by the Chinese as a treatment for physical and mental disorders.
Marijuana was used as medicine by cultures around the world before it was straight-up prohibited in the 1920s and by the 1930s. The ancient Egyptians were known to use cannabis for glaucoma and inflammation, and cannabis pollen was found on an Egyptian mummy from 1213 BC.
In the 1600s and 1700s, marijuana was commonly used
Medicinal marijuana’s use has evolved through the ages. English clergyman Robert Burton published The Anatomy of Melancholy almost 400 years ago, recommending the use of cannabis for depression treatment. Throughout Europe, marijuana was used for a variety of different medical treatments in the 17th and 18th centuries.
It was reported in the Edinburgh New Dispensary in 1794 that hemp oil had a curative effect on coughs, urinary incontinence, and venereal diseases. The New English Dispensatory published a cure for inflammation that used hemp roots to treat inflammation in Eastern Europe in 1764.
You are probably familiar with this. As hundreds and thousands of years ago, doctors still prescribe marijuana for the same conditions. Cannabis began to gain more acceptance right around the turn of the 19th century. Plants were brought to France by Napoleon’s forces from Egypt, where they were studied for their pain-relieving benefits. The Victorian era turned out to be a period of extensive marijuana use, because marijuana worked. This was again used for a wide variety of conditions that we’re still familiar with today. The use of a good old-fashioned cannabis tincture helped ease menstrual cramps, muscular pain, epilepsy, and many other symptoms.
Utilization of cannabis throughout the 1800s
In 1850, marijuana was included in the US Pharmacopeia after its use for medicine spread to the west in the 1800s. There were several conditions it was advertised as a cure for, such as alcoholism, opiate addiction, incontinence, tetanus, rabies, and cholera. Herbal tinctures were most commonly offered. A strange addition was that it was also added to treat insanity. As a result of the many medical benefits contained in this plant, it was grown by pharmaceutical companies in the United States in 1918 to the tune of 60,000 pounds per year.
During the 20th century, marijuana was legalized and used
A brief history of medical marijuana
It is difficult to understand why cannabis was ever labelled as ‘reefer madness’ in the 1930s and 1940s. Cannabis was under government control as early as 1933. Hearst, who was at the time a newspaper tycoon on the rise, began a propaganda campaign against cannabis at that time. At that time, newspapers were the only reliable sources of information, so people began buying into these arguments, and the war against cannabis erupted. In a few short years, a substance that was once widely accepted and widely used as medicine became demonized.
In 1938, neighboring Canada outlawed the substance, followed shortly thereafter by many other countries. By the 1950s, marijuana was difficult to obtain if you were caught in possession of it. A minimum of 2-10 years in prison and a maximum of $20,000 in fines was imposed on first-time marijuana possession offenses under the Narcotics Control Act of 1956.
Marijuana was legally deemed no longer a prescription drug by 1970, which coincided with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, which classified it as a Schedule I narcotic as dangerous as cocaine and other hard drugs.
Although not everyone believed in marijuana’s health benefits, there were still some supporters. Cannabis was considered such a dangerous drug in 1970 that NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) was founded. The organization’s mission? Its goal was to remove marijuana prohibition from society. NORML requested that the DEA reclassify the substance in 1972 so that it could be prescribed by doctors legally.
It wasn’t until 14 years later in 1986 that the DEA held a public hearing about this petition. A few years later, Judge Francis Young found that indeed there is a small minority of medical professionals willing to acknowledge cannabis’ medical benefits. Further, it was noted that the substance met the standards of other legal prescription medications. Final ruling was issued in 1994, some 22 years after it was introduced for the first time.
When it came to the use of marijuana as medicine, the 1970s were definitely progressive. Using marijuana for the treatment of glaucoma, Robert Randall became the first American to obtain FDA approval to access marijuana in 1976. The state of New Mexico was the first to officially recognize the medicinal
In the next few years, more than 30 states will pass similar legislation on cannabis.
Marijuana synthesized with Marinol was first tested on cancer patients in San Francisco during the next decade. While scientists were testing this synthetic compound of THC in 1980, six other states conducted experiments comparing smoking marijuana to taking a synthetic version. It was also found to be safer to smoke marijuana plants as opposed to these man-made Marinol pills, in addition to being more effective. Marinol’s study was the only one taken into account, as the government chose to focus on Marinol’s.
Marijuana possession penalties were increased in 1986, the same year the FDA approved Marinol. Since the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, federal penalties for marijuana possession have been dramatically increased. People could get sentenced to time served for growing 100 plants of marijuana or smoking 100 grams of heroin at this time, and many people received sentences that had nothing to do with the crime they committed.
Medical marijuana changed dramatically in the 1990s. Scientists discovered cannabinoid receptors in the brain in 1990, which played a critical role in proving that cannabis could be helpful for treating a number of medical ailments. A significant discovery in 1992 was the discovery of the first endocannabinoid, which is the brain’s natural form of THC. Originally called “anandamide” from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “everlasting bliss” or “pure joy.”
As history will have it, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. As soon as other states joined the movement, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington followed consecutively. The first Canadian patient received government-grown marijuana in 2003, after Health Canada announced they would investigate marijuana as a medicine in 1999.
It has been a long road to legalizing marijuana for medical use, and the journey is far from over. The history of marijuana’s use as a medicinal solution for millions of people isn’t as extensive. People who believe in the medicinal properties of marijuana continue to believe in it vehemently as time passes. We’ll undoubtedly continue to see medical marijuana develop in the future, perhaps one dayThis plant will be treated with the respect it so richly deserves in the not-too-distant future.
The Future of Cannabis Use Leads in a New Direction
In the world of cannabis legislation and use, the past decade has been a busy one. The plant is becoming more popular and widespread than ever before as more countries around the globe legalize it for medicinal use and recreational use.